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Race shame as crowd monkey noises taint European soccer

The British government has called for Serbia's national soccer team to face sanctions for racial abuse against its players. NBC's Karl Bostic reports.

Britain's government has written to European soccer authorities demanding "tough sanctions" against Serbia after racist chants - including monkey noises - were heard at an international match with England on Tuesday night.

Abuse was hurled at black members of the England Under-21 team in Krusevac, Serbia, according to England officials. The match ended in a series of angry tussles between players on on both sides.

Monkey chants, which the England team captain said came from Serb supporters, were audible on above ambient crowd noise.

British sports Minister Hugh Robertson said Wednesday the scenes at the end of the game were "disgraceful."

"I have written to [Union of European Football Associations] President Michel Platini ... urging them to investigate immediately," he said.

Trouble quickly escalated when Serbia's players and officials started attacking their England counterparts, in scenes broadcast on a British sports channel.

YouTube user "Strvideosfull"

A video clip, unverified by NBC News, appears to show monkey noises audible from the crowd at Tuesday night's U21 soccer match between England and Serbia

The monkey chants could clearly be heard in clips uploaded to YouTube as black England defender Danny Rose was penalized for kicking the ball into the crowd in frustration. It was not clear where the noise had come from.

Read more on this story at ITV News

Rose, who had been standing apart from the main group of players after trouble broke out, mimicked a monkey by sticking his arms underneath his armpits to demonstrate the racial nature of the abuse he could hear.

A spokesman for  Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, said he was "appalled" at the scenes, while Rose's father told ITV News he wanted Serbia banned from European soccer.

In a statement, England Under-21 captain, Jordan Henderson, said: "There was a lot of racist abuse out there from the stands. There was also stones, coins and seats getting thrown at us.”

The Football Association of Serbia also issued a statement, placing the blame on Rose, who, they said, behaved "in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters on the stands at the stadium in Krusevac."

Serbian player Milos Ninkovic, left, and England's Danny Rose, right, and Craig Dawson, center, clash during the match.

The statement went on to say: “FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Krusevac.”

Serbia’s soccer fans are notorious for causing trouble at home and abroad. The European governing body,  UEFA, awarded Italy a 3-0 win over Serbia after a qualifier in Genoa, Italy, in 2010 was stopped when Serbia supporters threw flares and fireworks onto the field, burned a flag and broke barriers.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. ITV News is the UK partner of NBC News. 

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